Why does the Bible not mention Nero’s persecution?

24 12 2010

I find it fascinating that during the life of Paul and Peter, we do not hear about the persecution of Christians by Nero. Nero was known to douse Christians in pitch and strap them to posts. He would then have them set alight and drive around the garden naked while being lit by the burning bodies of these Christians.

Paul himself felt the persecution first hand, yet we do not see any mention of these atrocities recorded in the bible. Non-Christian writers of the time however do record these incidents. The closest we come to hear is in 2nd Timothy where we hear of Paul’s 2nd arrest 2 Tim 4;13. This time not as a Roman but a criminal (2 Tim 2;9) as he was part of the blame for the burning of Rome, which Nero put the blame on the Christians, although it is now known he was the cause himself. Why did Paul not mention this? Tacitus and Pliny’s epistles mention this fact clearly when he wrote to Trajan, the Emperor in AD 112.
The Romans continued the persecution under Hadrian and then Antonius Pius (AD 117-161) while Aurelius continued with the persecution in the French village of Lyons. Maximinus Thrax, Decius and Valerian continued after Septimus Severus had a short respite of the persecution.
Christians were wrapped in animal skins and dogs set on them to tear them apart. Although Diocletian observed some tolerance, he was influenced by Galerius to initiate a short but violent persecution until AD 303 as described by Eusebius and Lactantius.

Yet with all this evidence we do not hear a single word in the Bible of these persecutions…why?

It still fascinates me as we hear that those who died for Christ (those being persecuted) and maintaining His name will receive a special crown.
I have no answer and ask those who do read this and believe they can bring some light on this to let me know.

I do know however, that the persecution has not stopped. It continues today and still we seldom hear about it.

I am reminded about the dear Australian brother working at a leper colony in India where the Sikhs set him and his two sons alight as they lay sleeping in their Landrover.
He was found huddled in a protective manner over his sons when found. His wife has continued his work in the same village where her family had been killed.

Is this indicative of Christian beliefs of coming in opposite spirit and to forgive those who persecute you and can this be why we do not hear of this in the Bible as we cannot dwell on the persecutors, but must dwell on the love and glory of our Lord Jesus.
It is not a them and us thing and we are all sinners and only through His forgiving love can we be established close to His throne and that does not include seeking revenge as He says, “revenge is mine”. If that is so, then why bother mentioning all the persecution as it has no purpose, but to build up hatred which is the opposite of His message to us.

That is my attempt to clarify the question. What is yours?




6 responses

20 07 2011

Just FYI, the vast majority of the Bible doesn’t mention Nero’s persecutions because most of the NT was written previous to the persecutions.

16 11 2012

That is so, but the key word would be “most” of the bible.

24 11 2013
Darcy Jackson

It’s not mentioned because it never happened. The texts about Nero also say he played the fiddle while Rome burned but the fiddle would not be invented for another 1,500 years.

2 12 2012

romans,first and second corinthians,ephisions,phillipians,colossians,first and second timothy,titus,philemon,hebrews,and first and second peter are all during 54 ad through 68 ad i just watched a show on nero and started to wonder why its not mentioned either?

19 10 2013
Jeremy Jones

It was actually mentioned. A vast majority of the prophecies in Revelation and other books are talking about the mass tribulation of Christians and the jewish people during the time of Nero. Remember…Christianity almost cease to exist because of this tribulation. The city of Jerusalem was destroyed, and Nero destroyed the Temple. He proclaimed himself god in the house of God and demanded everyone worship his statues. He is the antichrist spoken of in revelation. This was common knowledge up until around 18030 when Darby added his own beliefs to the book of revelation and deceived a great many to this day. Before that, early Christians fully understood that the revelations/prophecies that we read were almost all around 70ad. It was tough in the early days of the church that it was so.

14 12 2016
Trevor Dickerson

I’ve always believed the reteric describing the fledgling Christian Faith of that time was toned down and therefore the scriptures would not alienate the growing Roman readership. Many religious belief systems need no’s, the more followers the more influence it can exert. Especially if you are a new doctrine it would certainly be essential to bring on side the ruling majority.
Histrory is strewn with failed religious cults where truth is sacrificed to further the wealth, power and aims of so called “The True Church” “One God”.
This was the foundation of a previous civilisation where the Egyptian pheroes and priests would invent God’s and there by creating new revenue streams (donations) from the faithful followers.
This control exerted over the growing mass populations by the early religions would later split and under pin the political movements of the time. Strangely religion would go on to become the justification for state sponsored persocution and war, some on a truly “biblical scale”. And at the end of the day nobody wants to read about how bad there side has behaved so hence the Bible portraits the Romans as rather cuddly, Oh My Lord…..

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